(Recommended Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:14-21)
Being alone at times can be a real blessing. It can be a time where you can be in total silence or a time where regardless of how quiet or noisy it is you are enjoying yourself. But, sometimes being alone can be very difficult – a loneliness settles in that can almost be painful.
I am a pretty social person that enjoys having others around me. Twenty-two years ago when I divorced after 31+ years of marriage I found myself living alone for the first time in my life. It was really hard at times and my routine each day included turning on the TV first thing in the morning for the noise it created. Then when I would walk into my door from work, that same TV would get turned on again. I just could not deal with the silence – it made being alone much more ominous.
Then a few years later after a failed relationship that crushed my spirit I suddenly wanted and needed that same silence that I could not tolerate before. I cannot explain what caused that difference in me, but after a couple of years of deep introspection and a high tolerance for silence and being alone I realized I very much enjoyed it – I no longer had an issue with being alone and quiet. I had learned to love myself with no concern of what anyone else thought of me; and, then I again had the desire to have my friends around at times and started to truly live again.
As human beings, we have varying degrees of need for other people in our life. There are those that really do not have the need for a lot of interaction at all with others, while there are those at the other end of the spectrum that seem to need others surrounding them constantly in order to be happy. It seems to me that the extreme on either end of that scale could be detrimental.
The person that is not comfortable to be alone, that appears to flourish in crowds, may in reality be much more alone and lonely than the person that prefers more solitude. They have not learned how to truly love themselves or how to enjoy quiet and stillness. Being alone is uncomfortable for them. They want the noise and activity to surround them that is offered with a group of people; and, when their life is too quiet they feel panicked and lost.
On the other hand, the person that prefers to go into their home and totally shut out everyone and everything may lean toward self-loathing and depression. A sadness may creep over them that they do not fully comprehend.
Neither of those extremes is a good place to be. I do not believe that God created man to be a loner. We need each other for many reasons.
Psalm 139:14a (NIV) says: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”; and, 1 Corinthians 12:14-21 says: “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’” Each part has a specific purpose and many parts cannot function properly without other parts. If there is a part of our body that is not functioning fully, we may still be able to exist and make it okay, but not to our optimal best.
Just as our body is made up of so many different parts and functions best when all are fully formed and working, so is society at large. We need one another, each contributing with their God-given strengths, talents and abilities in order to be all we can be.
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 (NLT): “I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, ‘Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?’ It is all so meaningless and depressing. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
If you find yourself in the group that has a need to be constantly surrounded by other people and noise, possibly you need to take a look within – learn to love yourself enough that you can at times be alone and enjoy the quiet. Then step out into your place with others.
If you find yourself in the group that prefers to be alone and lots of silence, possibly you need to consider how you may be failing others that need you – your abilities, your talents. Step out and contribute in ways that possibly no one else can.
We all should strive for more unity in our lives with a willingness to share ourselves at an appropriate level that we might all be better and stronger.
“Unity equals strength.” (Chris Tiegreen)
Written by Karran Martin – October 4, 2020